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Downey : $2.50 Delinquent Fee on Water Bills Voted Down

March 26, 1992

The Downey City Council on Tuesday voted against penalizing residents and businesses that pay their water bills late. The ordinance, which won preliminary approval March 10, would have authorized the city Water Department to charge delinquent customers $2.50 to offset the expense of mailing a reminder notice.

About 360 late notices are mailed weekly to 13% of the city's customers, costing the city about $45,000 a year, said Lee Powell, assistant city manager.

Councilman Robert G. Cormack, who was absent when the late fee won preliminary approval, strongly opposed the penalty on Tuesday. Mayor Barbara J. Hayden and Councilwoman Diane P. Boggs originally supported the penalty but changed their minds to join Cormack in the 3-to-2 majority vote.

"It's an insult to our water customers," Cormack said. Council members Robert Brazelton and Barbara J. Riley both supported the fee, saying it was reasonable to pass on the mailing and other costs to delinquent water customers.

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